Spinal Cord Injury Patients Get A Grip With Wireless Gloves

Spinal Cord Injury Patients Get A Grip With Wireless Gloves

By Shinji Tutoru

THE GEORGIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY, GEORGIA, USA. A wireless musical glove has been developed to help patients with spinal cord injuries improve their motor control. The glove does not necessarily teach patients how to play the piano. It only helps them improve and regain their motor skills that they could be losing due to different spinal cord injuries. It makes the patient feel which finger to move to be able to tap the keys of the piano.

Most patients who have spinal cord injuries end up losing their motor skills and control. With the help of the wireless gloves, their grip and their hand movements improve with regular exercise. With the vibration in the gloves, the sensory cortex could be triggered to become more active. That way, brain activity in dormant areas of the motor cortex occurs.

The wireless glove was developed and built by researchers from the Musical Glove Georgia Tech. They were headed by Tanya Markow who is just a recent PhD and graduate in the same institution. They made sure that the development would be consistent as they moved on to the next steps of the research.

At first, patients were asked to wear the gloves while playing the piano for 30 minutes three times a week for 2 months. The patients also wore the wireless gloves while they were at home for 2 hours for 5 weeks. They only felt the vibration of the gloves at home and they didn’t have to play any musical instrument.

After the tests, most of the patients said that their hands became more sensitive to different textures. They were able to tell whether the sheets they were holding were rough or smooth. This was also the first time that they could feel the texture with their hands again after their spinal cord injuries.

Tanya Markow is planning to study this with functional MRI next. It seems as if the future for the wireless gloves is almost is within our reach. Soon, everyone with spinal cord injuries will be able to get their motor control and skills back with the help of this medical technology breakthrough.

Invention Wireless Musical Gloves
Organization The Georgia Institute Of Technology, Georgia, USA
Researcher Tanya Markow and Team
Field(s) Robotics, Spinal Cord Injuries, Haptic Glove, Mobile Music Touch, Artificial Intelligence
Further Information POPSCI

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